This year’s Best Multiple or Franchise Store is the 2,000sq ft forecourt Spar Roe Lane in Southport, owned by James Hall company division G&E Murgatroyd. The store’s focal point is its popular butchery counter with an in-store chef. The store enjoys an average weekly turnover of £64,000, up 50% year on year. It gets high sales of fresh and chilled and its innovation in this area has also earnt it the title Best Chilled Food Retailer. Store manager Angela Prescott and area manager Robert Eggo (pictured above) take C-Store on a tour.
Southport is where the James Hall business was founded and the store, which opened in September 2016, makes great use of this historic connection.
Aisles are named after the most famous street names in the area, and a timeline history of the James Hall business is hung behind the counters.
Black and white photos are displayed around the store showing local landmarks.
Information boards are located throughout the store, providing information on the history of the town.
Fresh produce greets customers as they enter. Loose fruit and veg is displayed in wooden crates with hand-written, blackboard-style price tags.
Traditional scales sit on top of the fruit and veg display, which adds to the rustic feel.
The wine section is a popular one. The store offers very competitive prices. Spar’s own-brand range, which simply states the grape variety and country of origin on the label, is particularly popular.
A hot drinks machine with ‘Coffee Shop’ POS includes a top-of-the-range touchscreen coffee machine, alongside pastries, cakes and biscuits. The store sells 300 cups of coffee each week. A loyalty card offers the seventh cup free.
A Big Night In section offers sharing crisps and nuts.
The store boasts 30 metres of refrigeration. Fresh and chilled (not including butchery) makes up 50% of the store’s sales.
A chiller highlighted with ‘Meal solutions’ and ‘Easy Meal Ideas’ POS is a popular feature. The POS also directs shoppers to the wine section.
An in-store butchery run by local butcher Graham Eves is the star of the show. The butcher has been in Southport for 25 years.
Three tonnes of sausages sold throughout Christmas week. The mini egg sausages sold at Easter were a hit and even featured in the local newspaper.
An in-store chef makes ready meals, sausages and Waitrose-style meal components. Some 1,000 ready meals are sold a week from the butchery section.
Meeting modern demands
The Subway-style deli offers a range of freshly-baked baguettes and a choice of fillings.
It sits adjacent to the freshly-baked cakes and pastries.
Regular cake and pastry samples are offered. The sweet fresh bakery smells help to draw shoppers to the back of the store.
There are plans to expand the deli offering next year and provide hot food-to-go solutions, including pizza.
The store caters to all the big market trends. It offers a full bay devoted to the main trends: gluten-free; healthy snacking; and protein snacks.
Best Chilled Food Retailer
The judges praised Spar Roe Lane for its willingness to embrace change, with extended refrigeration and innovative ideas to attract new customers.
They said: “The chilled areas are attractive and enticing, encouraging customer to peruse and purchase a full range of chilled products as part of their shopping experience, captivated by the in-house butchery which produces ready meal solutions.”
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